Established in support of young and budding British women on their road to artistic recognition, the Max Mara Art Prize is a biannual award initiated in 2005. Awarded a six month Italian residency tailored to fit the artist and their winning proposal, each reigning candidate is gifted the opportunity to develop their potential and achieve greater ambitions through showcasing their original work in the Whitechapel Gallery of London or in Italy’s Collezione Maramotti’s major solo exhibitions.
Announcing Emma Talbot as winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women at a ceremony held at the Whitechapel Gallery, London – OBE Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, Iwona Blazwick, alongside a panel of art-world experts comprising gallerist Florence Ingleby, artist Chantal Joffe, collector Fatima Maleki and art critic Hettie Judah, were pleased to crown Talbot the eighth victor ludorum in the award’s history.
Shortlisted from an extensive list of talented individuals including Allison Katz, Katie Schwab, Tai Shani, and Hanna Tuulikki – Emma Talbot who has lived and worked in London since 1969, has dedicated her life to drawing, painting, designing installations and crafting sculptures, in an effort to explore the inner landscape of personal thought, emotion and narrative.
“Emma Talbot makes radiant drawings and polychromatic sculptures on an epic scale; and combines word and image to express the lyricism and the pain of subjectivity. We are all excited to see how the experience of Italy will impact on the visionary aesthetic of this year’s Max Mara Art Prize winner!” – Iwona Blazwick,OBE Director of the Whitechapel Gallery.
Working with textiles and incorporating her own anecdotes alongside sourced quotes, Talbot’s work resonates on a social political level, investigating issues of gender, the natural world, and society’s intimacy with technology and language.
Heavily inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting titled, ‘Three Ages of Woman (1905)’, which features a naked elderly woman standing in apparent shame, Emma Talbot’s winning proposal evokes an innate desire to question positions of power, governance, attitudes to nature and representations of women, through an acutely personal lens.
In her work for the Prize, Talbot intends to animate the figure of the older woman as someone with agency, who overcomes a series of trials similar to The Twelve Labors of Hercules. Through her modern-day trials, Talbot will invest the woman with the potential to reconstruct contemporary society, whilst countering prevalent negative attitudes to ageing.
“Emma Talbot crafted a very original project will hopefully leverage on the incredible potentials that Italy offers when it comes to deep-diving into art history, textile techniques and the diversity of territories: all elements crucial to her future endeavor. We are looking forward to welcoming her to Italy and Collezione Maramotti.” – Luigi Maramotti, Chairman of Max Mara.
Spending time in Rome, Reggio Emilia and Sicily with pit stops in Milan, Como, Florence and Prato, Talbot’s bespoke six-month Italian residency offers opportunity to further her research in classical mythology, traditional silk painting, textile craftsmanship and permaculture, whilst visiting ancient archaeological sites, volcanic terrain and working alongside each city’s local craftspeople to acquire new skills in textile production and jacquard knitting.
Through acquiring the necessary knowledge to materialize her proposal, Emma Talbot will be creating a new body of work, set to be exhibited first at the Whitechapel Gallery and then at the Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy, by 2021.